Cool news! Sacha Baron Cohen (of Ali G and Borat fame) has a new television show on Showtime called Who is America.
And in even cooler news, Cohen chose to film an episode in Kingman, Ariz.
Except, the news couldn’t be worse.
Here is what happened.
Ouch, that one hurt.
In his review of the episode, Arizona Republic scribe Bill Goodykoontz astutely points out that Cohen baited the crowd, and they took it hook, line and sinker. And while their response is on them, baiting is a tactic that real journalists use in real media interviews every day. And, it is an effective one.
But, there are ways to stay on message if you ever enter into an interview with a journalist who is fishing for other answers than those you want to give.
Preparing in advance, researching the reporter and his/her interview style, having someone take you through potential “hard” questions prior, controlling facial expressions and even hiring a professional media trainer are among the most effective ways to “win” the interview.
I also recommend avoiding politics like the plague, never trying to buddy up to the reporter by sharing “off the record” information and assuming they won’t use it, and losing any industry jargon that will make you sound like an elitist.